To learn more about all Olympic hopefuls, visit teamusa.org. The Olympics begin August 5.
Alysia MontanoSix-time USATF Outdoor Champion; 800 meters 1 of 6
As a pro runner, my races are now usually in the evening. I plan my race day the night before, beginning with the race time then working backwards from there. One rule of thumb is to stick with what I know and comfortable with—never throw anything in unknown if I don't have to. I know what I like to eat and how my body responds to it. I always carry my half gallon bottle of water with me, which I make sure to go through everyday.
Here's a list of what I eat on race day:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with banana, dried cranberries, yogurt, mixed nuts and peanut butter.
Morning Snack: A handful of nuts or fruit, like a pear or apple.
Lunch: A chicken breast sandwich with boiled egg or a chopped salad with egg and chicken.
Afternoon Snack: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Pre-Race Meal: A chicken breast with quinoa or rice and steamed vegetables.
Post-Race: The best burger in town!
Leo ManzanoOlympic Silver Medalist; 1500 meters 2 of 6
In the morning for breakfast, I have two scrambled eggs, toast, fruit, yogurt, a small orange juice and coffee.
About four to five hours before a race for lunch, I have a chicken or turkey sandwich with all the fixings.
If I get hungry a few hours before the race, I have a snack, usually a granola bar. I also make sure to hydrate properly throughout the day with plenty of water and Powerade.
Dawn Harper-NelsonOlympic gold medalist; 100-meter hurdles 3 of 6
Before I even step out of bed in the morning, I grab a bottle of water and take my 10 vitamins. This will never be the fun part of my day, but they make up for the nutrients I miss when the food cannot supply them.
For breakfast, I have two eggs (scrambled, boiled or over easy, depending on what is available), croissant with strawberry jelly, apple juice, an apple and a banana. I always grab an extra banana for later before my race.
For lunch, I grab two pieces of some type of fish or baked chicken as my protein meat source, and then make a large salad with cranberries, cucumbers, corn, carrots and Caesar dressing. I often try to grab a little rice or scoop of potatoes to fill my stomach. Between lunch and my race, I snack on chewy bars, seaweed snacks or dried fruit that I brought from home.
Jeremy Taiwo2015 USATF Indoor Champion (Heptathlon); Decathlon 4 of 6
In an ideal world, I eat a bowl of cream of rice, a few pancakes with butter and syrup, a protein shake and an apple for breakfast on the day of competition. I usually start the day big with lots of carbs, fat and protein for quick energy; the protein helps the muscles and keeps me from getting too hungry right after the warm-up. I'm also gluten-, soy-, and corn-free because all of those things make me feel lethargic.
For lunch, I try to eat brown rice, chicken and veggies (this falls during the shot put, my third event). I want good calories and I love eating between events, so I put down food as much as I can. Picky Bars, turkey jerky and dried fruit are also go-to's.
For dinner before the decathlon, I just eat anything that gets me full with awesome carbs and protein, and anything that hits the spot, is healthy, tastes good and feels good.
Desiree Linden2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic team member; Marathon 5 of 6
The key is nothing new on race day; everything should be tried and tweaked during your training. My pre-race meal is usually very simple: coffee, a cup of white rice and half a PowerBar. I'll sip on an electrolyte drink throughout the morning up to the start. White rice is a great source of carbohydrates, it's also super simple and easy on the stomach.
Fueling during the race is critical for marathon success. I stick with a PowerBar electrolyte drink for the first 20 kilometers of the race; I shoot for eight to 10 ounces of fluid every five kilometers or 18 minutes. At 25 kilometers into the race, I'll switch over to Double Latte PowerGels mixed in 8 ounces. of water. The caffeine is a nice mental boost late in the race.
I find it difficult to get in food right away after a marathon, yet it's super critical for recovery. I always pack a PowerBar Protein Plus bar for immediately after the race and try to get that in within the first 30 minutes of crossing the line. After that, I'm able to take my time and make sure my stomach is settled before getting in a proper lunch. Post-race meals are all about food for fun so it's usually a celebratory burger and a beer.